Students proud of Ferriday Junior High

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 17, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. – Few youth are enthusiastic about the end of summer, but both students and teachers at Ferriday Junior High said they are glad to finally be in their new school.

&uot;This is nicer and more up-to-date than (the annex),&uot;&160;said student LaChiquita McCray. &uot;And we’re just proud to be the first eighth-graders in the new school.&uot;

The rebuilt school opened its doors to more than 300 students Monday, for the first time since four men set it on fire in June 1997.

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All four – Marcus Leonard, Demarcus Mitchell and Dan Tyler Jr., all of Ferriday, and Henry Turner Jr., of Alexandria, La. – have been sentenced to jail terms on arson charges.

Since the school burned, junior high classes had been held in the school’s unburnt annex building and part of nearby Ferriday Upper Elementary.

Rebuilding the school took several months and $1.58 million, which was paid by the Concordia Parish School District’s insurance. But the students, none of whom have gone to junior high in a school of their own, and faculty said it was worth it.

&uot;This school is really nice on the inside,&uot; said student Ashley Dixon, looking down the school’s corridor. While it was a hot summer day outside, Dixon said &uot;it’s really cold in most all the classrooms here.&uot;

A modern architectural design, including smaller windows that keep her students’ eyes from wandering from their pre-algebra lessons, are what Linda Alexander noticed most about the school.

&uot;I’m excited about it, … kind of like the way you feel about a new car or a new house,&uot; Alexander said.

&uot;And the students enjoy it because they’re the first ones in the building. That’s something they can tell their children and grandchildren about.&uot;

The school’s bigger library – the previous one was no larger than a classroom – is able to hold about 4,500 books, 3,000 more than last year, said Librarian Gayle Carlock.

Other school librarians and members of the community worked at the school last week and over the weekend to get the library ready, she said.

&uot;We should be able to check out books in a couple of days,&uot;&160;Carlock said. &uot;Students are already asking when they can use the library.&uot;

Some furniture and telephones were still not in the new school Tuesday, but Vice Principal Dorothy Parker said they should be in place any day now.